By Janice Eck
(Victorville)– Not a seat was empty at the Creative Arts Theater (CAT) in Victorville as they celebrated their 5th anniversary on February 7. The night was filled with flashbacks, scenes from their most memorable productions, raffle drawings, and reciprocated gratitude between cast and audience. The night also gave CAT an opportunity to thank their greatest supporters who had been with them since the beginning.
CAT showcased its talent during the anniversary production as it highlighted their best performers through past musical numbers performed by the original cast. People laughed, whooped, and applauded the encore snippets with admiration and appreciation.
Over the past five years, CAT has put on 25 shows including “Willy Wonka,” “Steel Magnolias,” “Seussical,” “Grease,” “Rent,” and so much more. Their most prevalent production was “Shrek the Musical,” as performer, Director, and Board Member, Robert Blomker, spoke to High Desert Daily in an interview about the achievement, “It was an Inland Empire Premiere, an Inland Empire Premiere in the High Desert. We were the first amateur company to be able to do it anywhere. We were the first amateur premier.” Cherie Glisson, Founder, performer, and Production Manager added, “We were the first ones to do ‘Shrek the Musical’, so we had to make a lot from scratch. Tim [Cherie’s husband, also cast member and co-Founder] designed a set of legs for Lord Farqaad and a dragon out of foam which was huge and had five puppeteers. These were all things we’ve never done before. We were very excited about it.”
CAT prides itself to bring more new Broadway shows to the High Desert, but they do so much more than what patrons see on stage. High School students can get credit for community service hours and High School seniors may apply for scholarships. Tim Glisson further explained CAT’s impact on the High Desert community, “We’re an opportunity not for people to just act and become a part of the show. We give opportunities. We’ve produced two original plays, we’re having another writing contest to produce a third. We allow student directors to assistant direct then direct their own show.”
CAT encourages people of the High Desert to do more than buy a ticket and walk through its doors to watch a show. Although ticket sales and monetary donations are always welcome, people who work behind the scenes, such as seamstresses, set designers and builders, etc. are encouraged to volunteer their services. Opportunities for aspiring actors and performers are also open, Blomker explained, “We always want fresh faces. We always have auditions. We’re always begging for new people. We want to get the younger people in so they’re growing up in theater.”
With all that CAT has offered the High Desert, the theater is sure to persist in the years to come where a self-sustaining, bigger, more modern theater is their next goal. Their first show of the year, “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,” is surely a step in that direction. For more information about the Creative Arts Theater in Victorville, please visit http://www.creativeartstheater.com/ .